Proclamation by the Mayor of Baltimore


Eli Siegel Day in Baltimore Proclaimed by Mayor


WHEREAS, the people of Baltimore are proud to join with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Historical Society, Coppin State College, Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute, Morgan State University, former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, and others in honoring the centenary of the great Baltimorean poet, philosopher, and educator Eli Siegel (1902-1978), who in 1941 founded the philosophy Aesthetic Realism; and

WHEREAS, Eli Siegel grew up in Baltimore, and his contributions to world thought began with writings completed in this city, some appearing in such Baltimore publications as Horizons of Johns Hopkins University, the Modern Quarterly, his columns in the Baltimore American; and

WHEREAShe won the esteemed Nation Poetry Prize in 1925 for his “Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana,” which he said was affected by thoughts of Druid Hill Park, and about which William Carlos Williams wrote, “I say definitely that that single poem, out of a thousand others written in the past quarter century, secures our place in the cultural world”; and

WHEREAS, the honesty, kindness, and greatness of mind Eli Siegel possessed were described in the Baltimore Sun by Donald Kirkley: “Baltimore friends close to him at the time [that he won the Nation prize] will testify to a certain integrity and steadfastness of purpose which distinguished Mr. Siegel …. He refused to exploit a flood of publicity …. He wanted to investigate the whole reach of human knowledge … to discover in its labyrinth some order or system”; and

WHEREAS, Eli Siegel showed that 1) the deepest desire of every person is to like the world honestly, 2) humanity’s largest danger is contempt, “the addition to self through the lessening of something else,” 3) “The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites”; and his scholarship and historic comprehension are in his books, beginning with Self and World, the classes he taught which changed people’s lives magnificently, his thousands of lectures on the arts, sciences, and history; and

WHEREAS, this education he founded, enabling people to see the world and others with the respect and kindness they deserve, including people of different races and nationalities, is continued by
Class Chairman Ellen Reiss and the faculty of the not-for-profit Aesthetic Realism Foundation, and is used as a Teaching Method with unprecedented success by educators in public schools — we salute Eli Siegel for his great contributions to knowledge and humanity beginning in the City of Baltimore.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARTIN O’MALLEY, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF BALTIMORE, do hereby proclaim August 16, 2002 as “ELI SIEGEL DAY” in BALTIMORE, and do urge all citizens to join in this celebration.IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set the Great Seal of the City of Baltimore to be affixed this twenty-eighth day of April, two thousand two.